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Some more West German excellence to share...

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by bc1023, Oct 13, 2018.

  1. bc1023

    bc1023 Member

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    The handguns of Willi Korth have been around since 1954. Founded in Ratzeburg, Germany, the company has always been known for exquisite refinement and outstanding build quality. The first revolvers were rather simple looking, but well made. The Korth Combat and Sport revolvers were introduced several years later and were truly a marvel of engineering and craftsmanship. It was during this time in the 1970’s and 80’s that Korth earned its reputation for building some of the finest handguns in the world. I’ve owned Korth Combat revolvers for a decade now and I’m still amazed just picking one up. If you want the world’s nicest wheelgun, look no further than a 1970’s Korth.

    Having said all that, the subject of my thread isn’t a revolver. By the early 1980’s, Willi started to look “outside the box”. In 1988 an automatic pistol of his own design was introduced. Simply called the Korth Autopistol or just Korth Pistol, this gun was, not surprisingly, build to incredibly high standards of excellence. The design is that of a falling block similar to that of a Walther P38 and later the Beretta 92. Korth did it a bit differently, however. The falling block is up front by the muzzle and certainly unique in its design and appearance. Supposedly, Korth designed it in that fashion to moderate recoil. The basic configuration is DA/SA and it has a super smooth, but fairly long DA pull. Personally, I was never in love with this pistol’s design or its high bore axis, but being that the gun has so much prowess in other ways, its easily forgivable.

    Speaking of prowess, all parts are cut from blocks of high grade carbon steel and fitted to tight tolerances. The fit and finish is immaculate and its really a work of art as much as it is a firearm. These pistols were completely hand built in very limited quantities. The Korth Autopistol was produced on and off for over 15 years. Less than 300 examples were made. The bluing on the early models was very matte, but even. The frames have started to take on a bit of a plum color over the years. Later finishes could be optioned very extravagantly, to include plasma of various colors, gold accents, etc, etc. Being conservative like I am, I prefer the old bluing the best. The checkered walnut grips are beautiful and the wood inlay on the back strap in a very nice touch. The magazines are extremely well made and they put many of my entire handguns to shame. They remind me of the old Sig P210 magazines before they were zippered up the back. The inside workings of the gun show the same phenomenal attention to detail. It shows the great pride Willi Korth took in his craft. I tried to capture the level of craftsmanship in the pictures, but it’s the sort of gun that has to be seen in person to fully appreciate. The machining is just otherworldly in its precision and accuracy.

    As a shooter, the Korth Autopistol took me a bit of time to appreciate. At first I felt it was awkward due to the bore axis being as high as it is and the quirky ergonomics. However, it shoots so softly that it doesn't really matter. I find accuracy to be very good. Maybe not on the level of say a Sig P210-6, Smith & Wesson 952, or Pardini GT9, but still quite respectable. I think it was certainly one of the finest handguns ever made in Germany or anywhere in the world for that matter. Its attention to detail and level of quality and craftsmanship is matched by very, very few other handguns. I’m not in love with the design, as mentioned above. I guess that’s part of the gun’s charm though. It exudes exoticism and looks like no other handgun. At 43oz unloaded, the Korth Pistol is hefty, just the way I like high end handguns. Its pure class all the way.

    I have a couple examples to share. One from the very first year of production (1988) and the other from the second year, stamped "JJ" and "JK", respectively, and with serial numbers 24 and 122. It has been told to me from a couple sources that Willi built these early pistols himself. Whether or not that’s actually true, I have no idea. However, I would venture to say that he had a big hand in their production. Condition on both of them is about flawless. When I got the first year model, I believe it was unfired in the box. However, I couldn't help but put a couple rounds through it. The caliber on both is 9mm, which was true of all the early guns. Later models were chambered in 40S&W and even 357 Sig, but I wouldn’t want the gun in any caliber other than this one. The instruction manual is entirely in German. I don't think these were ever actively imported into the States by Korth. Both of mine were privately imported.

    The models are basically identical other than the trigger guard. The shape of the guard has nothing to do with the year of manufacture. Rather it was a factory option to get a rounded guard or a squared one. Why I'm not really sure, but I'm happy to have one of each. It does change the appearance of the pistol quite a bit.

    Does anyone here have experience with this handgun? If so, what’s your opinion?

    Thanks for reading. Please enjoy the pics and share your thoughts.


    My 1988 model (Serial # 24)

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    Some macro pics...

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    hAkron, equin, 5-SHOTS and 7 others like this.
  2. bc1023

    bc1023 Member

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    Here's my 1989 model (Serial #122)

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    More macros...

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  3. bc1023

    bc1023 Member

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    Pair...

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    With a couple of my vintage Korth Combats...

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    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Oct 13, 2018
    equin, bullseye308, 5-SHOTS and 7 others like this.
  4. 460Shooter

    460Shooter Member

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    More beauties. Nice, real nice.
     
  5. Dragonfly

    Dragonfly Member

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    Thanks for the great write-up and excellent pictures! I had never heard of these before.
     
  6. cheygriz

    cheygriz Member

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    Well done bc. Nice write up and pix.
     
  7. Dudedog
    • Contributing Member

    Dudedog Contributing Member

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    Very nice,
    couple $ in that pic!
     
  8. NIGHTLORD40K

    NIGHTLORD40K Member

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    Stunning!
     
  9. BusMaster007

    BusMaster007 Member

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    Thanks for showing the guns together.
    Something a lot of us would never see anywhere else.

    Fantastic collection and great story. :)
     
  10. cslinger

    cslinger Member

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    I always follow your posts whether here or on other forms. You have great taste, take wonderful pictures and give very nice write ups.

    .......and I hate you. No disrespect. :)
     
  11. 1KPerDay

    1KPerDay Member

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    Saw these on another forum and happy to take another look. Thanks for posting! Lots of us will never have the opportunity to even see pistols like this in person.
     
  12. Pat Riot

    Pat Riot Member

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    Beautiful handguns. Thank you.
     
  13. bc1023

    bc1023 Member

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    Thanks guys
     
  14. bc1023

    bc1023 Member

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    Some internal pics...


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    5-SHOTS and Gordon like this.
  15. bannockburn

    bannockburn Member

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    bc1023

    Great pistols made even better with great photos! Thanks for sharing!
     
  16. BigSteve57

    BigSteve57 Member

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    Looks like excellent machining - all parts are mirror like with no tooling marks.
     
  17. Coal Dragger

    Coal Dragger Member

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    Beautiful craftsmanship on that pistol.
     
  18. Browning

    Browning Member

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    Those are awesome.

    There's nothing like fine pistols photographed on tan carpet. ;) (I do it too).
     
  19. 94045

    94045 Member

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    Now I have to change my shirt!.(Drooling...)
     
  20. 5-SHOTS

    5-SHOTS Member

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    Superlative pistols. Congratulations, you always surprise us with the pieces in your collection.
    This "old" Korth Pistol is much nicer and peculiar than the current production one which is basically a match between a 1911 and a HK P9S. I'm sure they are excellent pistols as well but with less caracter.
    Ten years or so ago the price for one of those Korth Pistols was 5500 euro here in Italy. Never ever seen one in person nor for sale anywhere.
     
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